Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Exploring my failure of nerve

“The word decision means literally ‘to cut away.’  When one makes a decision, one is making choices, which includes the choice of being willing to give something up… the less confidence leaders have in their ability to stand alone after they make a decision, the less likely they are to make one.” – Edwin Friedman

When I read this, a lightbulb went on…  and revealed an ugly and scared place that desperately needs the wilderness of Lent.
I have a love / hate relationship with decisions.  I can be fairly decisive (or is it impulsive) and then agonize over whether I made the right choice… or, I can be extremely hesitant to decide because I don’t want to eliminate any possibilities.

As an example, we recently decided to buy a new washing machine.  And so I started doing research into a new washing machine: brands, reliability, features, cost, stores, warranties, etc.
I bought a washer / dryer pair at a deep discount at a local appliance store and scheduled the delivery for two weeks later.  

One week later, I had gotten my money back and canceled the delivery… deciding we didn’t actually NEED a new washer. The one we currently had actually worked.  It cleaned our clothes well enough.  It didn’t need quarters.  It seemed like a ‘white people problem’ to even consider buying a new machine. 

One week after that, I was back in the store, buying another washing machine...

This is a ridiculous example of my failure of nerve.

As I’ve started reading this book, I keep recognizing myself as a leader who lacks nerve.  I haven’t yet worked through whether, as Christ followers, we are called to be the kind of leaders that Friedman is calling for, but I am taking his criticisms to heart.

This fear of standing alone after the decision is made… (and I'm not talking washing machines here, I'm talking parenting, ministry, relationships - everything) is the wilderness where I need to go and meet God during this Lenten season.  This is the fear that cripples me as a leader… especially because I think I fall into the lie of believing that I stand alone.  What would God be able to do through me if I stopped fearing the fall out of decisions... and willingly entered the sabotage and suffering that will surely follow any truly courageous choice?

1 comment:

  1. I believe that the willingness to endure suffering and sabotage, returning blessings for curses, is what convinces others that our cause is true and right. Not an easy thing to do, not possible without the grace of God. May you experience the strength of his grace that will keep you from the lion's mouth and protect you from the fiery furnace.